Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Chinese fishing boats conducting illegal operations in South Korean waters, including the catch of small fry, were taken into custody then released after boat crew paid fines of more than $130,000.
The boats operating in an area about 40 miles southwest of Gageo Island in Sinan county, South Jeolla Province, were apprehended starting at 7:10 a.m., News 1 and Yonhap reported Tuesday.
The boats were identified as Boat A and Boat B in local South Korean media. A included a crew of 18 fishermen, weighed 148 tons and had used illegal nets to catch small fry, a violation of South Korean law.
Boat B was found in an area about 47 miles southeast of Gageo Island, carrying a crew of 16 people.
Boat A had captured 3.5 tons of fish, including small fry, while Boat B had netted 4.85 tons.
Boat B reportedly did not keep a log of its catches in order to appear to not exceed its quota, according to News 1.
The presence of Chinese boats violating South Korean regulations is a source of concern.
Chae Kwang-chul of the Mokpo Maritime Police said he expects more illegal Chinese fishing activity near South Korean shores.
The arrests on Tuesday were not the first; in 2019 Mokpo police have detained other Chinese fishing boats for violations. Fines for Chinese boats have exceeded $2.23 million this year, according to reports.